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O.C. BUSINESS PLUS | HEARD ON THE BEAT / TOURISM

List of 'Unspoiled' Hideaways Rates Ritz-Carlton Less Ritzy

October 05, 2000|E. SCOTT RECKARD

Are the oceanfront bluffs of Dana Point less peaceful and unspoiled these days?

The Ritz-Carlton resort, perched atop those bluffs, has been dropped from the list of top 20 resort hotels published annually by Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report, which bills itself as "a connoisseur's worldwide guide to peaceful and unspoiled places."

The Ritz, which fell from No. 15 to No. 38, had been in the top 20 since 1987, according to the newsletter release recently.

The Hideaway Report, aimed at company owners and bosses, said it compiled responses from 2,500 of its readers, 87% of them business owners, partners, presidents or chief executives.

Earlier this year the newsletter questioned whether the "classic Ritz" was losing its edge, citing comments from readers last spring about "hordes of groups" and service that was "not up to snuff."

Ritz spokeswoman Lisa Poppen said the hotel works with J.D. Powers market researchers to ensure the needs of its guests are met, "and our customers are very happy with their stays here."

She points to another explanation:

"The competition has grown," Poppen said.

E. Scott Reckard covers tourism for The Times. He can be reached at (714) 966-7407 and at scott.reckard@latimes.com.

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